Spiritual Doldrums

  • Reading time:13 mins read

📌 How beautiful it is to be in the presence of the Lord times of spiritual doldrums.

📌 How beautiful it is to hear God’s still small voice when you’re in the presence of the Lord.

📌 How beautiful and lovely to listen to the Holy’s Spirit’s leading when humbling ourselves before him.

📌 How wonderful it is to wait for our loving God in our time of stillness.

‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). This is a very familiar verse. But do we practice it? What does it mean? How do we do it? At first, it seems a simple and straightforward message to repeat God’s advice to ‘be still and know that I am God’, but I have discovered that it is not that easy to implement in my life, and I have a feeling that many of you share that same experience. 

And sometimes we desire to stay busy as we move around in a world that’s not yielding us the fruit that we need. So we find ourselves in a place of wondering and asking:

God, what are you up to now?

Sometimes that’s a difficult question for many of us to ask ourselves because we’ve been stuck doing our own plan. Or, we have ignored the plan or calling on our lives. But God is gracious, He gives us space and time to work through the low valleys of our life. Then, we surrender when we’ve had enough.

The spiritual doldrums in our lives can be the most frustrating places in our lives where we feel God is doing absolutely nothing. A “Doldrum” is an experience, a state of mind, a period of inactivity. It’s identified as stagnation or depression that happens in our life. This can be the most frustrating time, but one of the most rewarding when we come through it.

Alex and Ani Cross II

As you’re sitting and waiting in this place of doldrum, develop habits that are going to keep your heart open to hear God’s voice. Don’t sit mulling over what you don’t have, what you’re missing out on, who’s not calling you, and here’s a big one. Why can’t I hear God’s voice?

Stop moving!

Firstly, it’s not easy to simply be still, is it? We live in a world that seems to be in perpetual motion. All of us have more to do than we could ever get done. It appears out of balance to us to ‘be still.’ Successful people aren’t viewed as people who are ‘still’; they are people who are active. There’s a difference between being productive and busy. In fact, we have this idea that if we’re not doing something, we’re not being productive.

Now, our heavenly Father is saying the same thing to us: ‘Stop moving’ … And be still.’ Stop working, stop talking—stop!’ The first hurdle we face in stilling ourselves in God’s presence is to get our bodies to be still, to literally stop moving. And for most of us that does not come easy.

Can I be the first witness?

I daily work through the process of being ‘still.’ My days are scheduled and scripted by a calendar. Yes, an ole-school calendar. I write things down. But each day time is designated to be still. And, I give it the highest priority. For me, this stillness has to be early in the morning, before my mind is cluttered and my concentration is divided.

I’m reminded of this scripture. Luke 18:1-8: Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city, there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city, there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

We have to get up off our knees and stop becoming masters of statements and become masters of actions. Click To Tweet

I’m sure these disciples felt like you and me sometimes. We believe God is doing absolutely nothing about our situations. The disciples, like us, must have felt frustrated with their prayer life—like their prayers didn’t matter—like nothing much was happening, as a result of their prayers.

Have you ever felt that way? Like your prayers didn’t matter? Like nothing, much happened as a result of your prayers? I know I have felt that way. It’s frustrating. At worst, it can lead to losing hope and even giving up on faith in God altogether.

Honestly, we get that desperate sometimes and continually ask ourselves. Are my prayers being heard? What’s the use? Is this all in vain?

During this time, ask God some questions. Gibeon asked, “How long are the Midianites going to oppress the Israelites. It’s been seven years?” Habbukah asked, When are you going to punish the evildoers for oppressing the Israelites? God, it looks like you’re overlooking the evil?” Moses asked a lot of questions, “God, can you find somebody else? Who Am I?, Can Aaron go with me?” He just won’t stop.

Keep in mind, we don’t want to be like Jonah. Jonah just runoff when God was trying to do something special in his life. It takes time for God to craft something special with our lives to place us on display. Be patient. God knows what He’s doing.

So, what do you do when these “Spiritual” Doldrums” appear in your life and you’re in this frustrating place where you feel God is doing absolutely nothing?

Symptoms of Spiritual Doldrums:

Table of Contents

Get to Know God

You have to know that God is God. Knowing something means we understand clearly and with certainty. Knowing implies understanding. In other words, knowing doesn’t just happen; it is the result of a process and, like stillness, knowing requires involvement on our part.

Knowing develops confidence and trust. Knowing dispels doubt and fear. The psalmist calls us to ‘be still and know that God is God’!

To know God means we know that he alone is God and that we don’t look to other people or things to meet our needs. Tell me, where do you go after all things fail in your life? We go to God for security when all things fail in our life.

When you know that God is God, you run first to him for all your needs. We know that God alone is our life source, even though he may use other people to help us. Knowing God means we are learning to turn first to Him for confidence and security. And it comes when we learn to ‘be still’, for this is the pathway that allows us to truly know and appreciate that God is God.

Remember Who God Is

Our world and the chaos that surrounds us help us believe that each of us are gods. Self-sufficient. Doing things our own way. We are also encouraged to worship ourselves, to make ourselves feel comfortable while feeling like we’re the most important people in the world.

Sometimes we allow other people to become gods in our lives. But we need a constant reminder of who God really is! We need to frequently check the thrones of our hearts to make sure nothing is taking God’s first place.

So, the secret for a victorious and balanced life, keeping our priorities in line, obtaining peace and contentment, and a life that blesses others and that brings glory to God. Is being still. 

I urge you to plan your still time, and to pray for the inner stillness you need so that you can come to know God more. 

These are the signs that you haven’t become still: you don’t feel like praying and talking to God; you don’t read your Bible, listen to spiritual motivational enhancers; your church attendance is almost none; you stop taking phone calls from individuals or spiritual leaders who really care about you; and, you avoid anything that has to do with God.

Faith without prayer is like a sailboat without a sail. You can’t catch the wind if you don’t hoist the sail! When we grow weary of waiting on the wind, we might “lose heart,” and question whether the wind will ever blow again. We may even ask, “Lord? What’s the point of even hoisting the sail?” The wind never blows in my direction.

But, I encourage you to keep hoisting your sail because when it looks like God is doing absolutely nothing. He is crafting a masterpiece with the chapters of your life. Your waiting will not be in vain.

Sometimes the wind doesn’t blow, and we find ourselves in the doldrums of divorce, sickness, debt, lack, etc. We can’t “feel” the wind; we can’t predict when the wind will blow. We cannot predict how the Spirit of God will move either. Our job—even in the Doldrums—is to hoist the sail of prayer, to ready ourselves in faith and know that the winds will blow in our direction again.

Be still, my friend and know that He is God. 

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